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Top 10 Packing Disaster Stories

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We asked you, our well-traveled readers, to divulge your worst packing disaster stories. And it turns out most of you have experienced a packing setback or two while traveling the world, from airplanes running over luggage strewn on the tarmac to suitcases filled with invading iguanas.

While it's unfortunate that so many of you had problems with lost bags, suspicious TSA agents, forgotten essentials and broken luggage, we thoroughly enjoyed reading about your packing misadventures. So the next time airport security confiscates our bottle of shampoo, we'll think of your packing disaster stories and acknowledge: it could have been worse.

We picked the top five most interesting, unusual and hilarious packing disaster stories we received, and have awarded their authors with free packing travel kits (to make future packing endeavors more pleasant). You'll find the winning stories below, along with five runners up.

And the Winners Are ...

Get Your Dead Ducks in a Row
"I was returning from Sacramento to Las Vegas, my former home town. We had just spent a successful four days duck hunting in the Buttes. I had shot my limit of eight ducks, and my friends decided to share eight of their ducks with me. Unprepared for such a take home, I purchased an insulated backpack at the airport. It nicely held all 16 dead ducks. These were all vacuum-packed and ready for storage. The lady at the counter suggested I check the bag since it was so heavy. Upon arriving in Vegas, I heard an announcement that the plane's luggage didn't get loaded and had missed the flight, and that the airline would deliver my luggage within approximately 24 hours. I immediately told the agent what was in my bag, and what a stink it would make in the cargo hold if it wasn't retrieved instantly. Amazingly, two hours after I left the airport, there was a delivery man at my doorstop with my bag and all 16 ducks. If the airlines ever lose your luggage, tell them you have dead animals in it -- and they miraculously find it!" -- Yvonne C., Washington

When It Rains, It Pours
"My husband and I packed for our two-week cruise last year to the western Mediterranean. Was I ever sorry when we were held up by the storm in Philadelphia on the coast. We were blissfully unaware that our suitcases were sitting on the tarmac while we waited out the delay. We arrived and boarded our cruise to unpack our dripping wet clothes! One pair of my shoes had disintegrated in the wetness. Our suitcases stank, and we did our best to hang clothing all over the room, since using dry cleaning onboard means really being 'taken to the cleaners!' -- $3 per panty! Never again will we travel without making sure our clothing, toiletries, etc. are safely sealed in plastic baggies!" -- Linda, Ohio

5 Calories, 5 Hours in Security
"I work for a company that has an office in Spain. Whenever one of our employees heads over to Spain, we always send him or her with an extra suitcase full of supplies. It's cheaper to check an extra bag than to mail it. We recently sent a new employee over and with him a suitcase filled with all kinds of things. There were the standard tape measures, safety vests and office supplies, but there were some odd things as well. For instance, a Crock-Pot, an unmarked brown bag of mixed nuts and various packets of Crystal Light drink mix. As his suitcase was being unloaded in Spain, the zipper broke and some of the Crystal Light packets burst, thus spilling out a powder onto the ground. Of course, the airport employees were immediately suspicious, and everything stopped while they got security out to the plane. Our poor employee was fetched from baggage claim and taken into the security office to be questioned. He had a hard time explaining, in limited Spanish, that the Crystal Light was 'powder you put in your water to make it taste good.' The concept does sound a little ridiculous if you think about it. Eventually, our supervisor in Spain was called in to clear him of any suspicion, but he did spend several hours in the security rooms of the airport being questioned. What a great way to say, 'Welcome to the team!'" -- Kristi, Michigan

Now How Did Those Get Through Customs?
"While packing to return home from Aruba, we found we only had 20 minutes to get ready. There were eight of us trying to get things in order and into suitcases. As a family we made a mad dash to stuff suitcases by turning dresser drawers over and into the suitcases. Yes, we did make it to the airport on time -- but returning home and unpacking would be the next endeavor. While unpacking we found baby iguanas that had apparently nested in our drawers. We will make it a point to carefully pack the next time around." -- Rosemarie K., New York

luggage suitcases tarmac airport airline air travel Plane, 1; Duffel Bag, 0
"We were traveling to the West Indies to spend a week on a Windjammer. We knew that we would not have a lot of storage for our luggage on the boat so we went to a sporting goods store and bought a small soft-sided duffel bag. When our plane arrived in the islands I did not see my bag anywhere. Then I saw it ... out on the runway. A plane had just run over it. My clothes were everywhere! When I retrieved the bag, I was told that the airline had not caused the damage.

"Meanwhile, my undies, etc. were falling out all over the place, and there were tire tracks on the bag. I secured a little duct tape and proceeded to seal up the bag with the duct tape." -- Dianne S., Florida

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